By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Marin Cilic put his slow start down to a lack of notification and preparation time to adjust to the roof, but is aiming for the very top, after losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer.
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Australian Open 2018 runner-up Marin Cilic admitted that he had not been consulted about the decision for the Men’s final to be played under the roof. On a scorching day in Melbourne, the Extreme Heat Policy and the curiously named Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index played a large part in how Cilic started the match.
It was a slow start to the match as Roger Federer roared ahead at the start, and Cilic explained that his preparation had all been around playing in temperatures up in the 30s.
He said: “Mentally was tough. Also was difficult with conditions. You know, throughout the tournament I played all my matches outdoors, also preparing a hot day, 38 degrees. Then first match for the final to play with the roof closed, it’s difficult.
“I have to say that decision could it have been different? I guess so. I think that it was just little bit difficult to adjust, especially the beginning of the match. With the roof closed, it was way, way cooler than I expected. That was very, very difficult, especially for the final to be in that kind of a situation.
“They didn’t ask me. They just came to me to tell me that they are thinking about decision, and they going to make the final decision just around 7 p.m., just slightly before the match. I didn’t mind to have roof closed, but it was a huge difference in temperature from having outside 38, then when you came in, it was like 23, 4, I don’t know. It was way cooler than I expected.”
He went on to clarify he had not taken the issue any further with the referee, explaining that just before a huge final, to have such negativity would have been counter-productive, but the struggle to adjust was evident in that first set.
However his fight saw him peg back Federer twice, and although the now 20-time Grand Slam champion raced away with it at the end, Cilic now rises to World No. 3.
He is not content with just that though, and with Novak Djokovic just making his way back, Rafael Nadal looking to return in Acapulco, and Andy Murray out for at least half the year, the time is now for the big-serving Croatian to make his move.
He continued: “My ultimate goal is to reach No. 1. That’s what I’m working for. Even in these last one or two years, the progress that I did is big. Last year I improved a lot in different areas.
“Now in these last couple months, I improved even more. So that gives me big confidence. Beating here Rafa – obviously he retired, but it was great match as well. Then playing with Roger head-to-head, a great match. This is giving me big confidence for going forward.
“No. 3 feels and looks amazing, especially behind them as well. But I know how difficult it is, knowing as well Novak and Andy and many other guys had a tough last season. For me it’s a great time that I improved and that I am continuing to improve. Big time ahead for me.”
Cilic is next scheduled to play in Buenos Aires, in February.
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